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LaSalle Hotel Properties climbs as rating upgraded

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of LaSalle Hotel Properties climbed more than 2 percent on Tuesday as an analyst raised his rating on the lodging-focused real estate investment trust partly because of its stock price.

THE SPARK: Mark Lutenski of BMO Capital Markets raised LaSalle's rating to "Outperform" from "Hold."

THE ANALYSIS: Lutenski said in a client note that LaSalle has underperformed the lodging REITs by 13 percent for the year to date, creating a good buying opportunity for investors.

The analyst said that he believes that LaSalle should benefit from improving conditions in the lodging sector. As economic conditions improve, the housing market continues to show signs of a recovery and fewer people are out of work, consumers are starting to feel more confident in their discretionary spending, which includes stays at hotels.

SHARE ACTION: LaSalle's stock added 61 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $24.93 in afternoon trading. The shares have traded in a 52-week range of $22.33 to $30.46. For the year to date, the stock is down 4 percent.